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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Man gets 20 years in death over beer

By John Burnett
Hawaii Tribune-Herald

HILO, Hawai'i A Pāhoa man convicted of killing another man in a dispute over a free beer has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara told 37-year-old Robert Grant at the Monday sentencing that due to a lengthy history of intoxication and violence, he'd "run the risk ... that somebody was going to get seriously injured."

In December, a jury convicted Grant of manslaughter for the death of 47-year-old Daniel Martina.

Grant kicked Martina and sent him sprawling backward in the parking lot of the Pāhoa Community Center on Nov. 1, 2008.

Martina died six days later at The Queen's Medical Center. An autopsy found he died of a brain injury caused by a fractured skull.

Witness Talbert Lum Ho testified that when Martina's head hit the asphalt, it sounded "like one coconut hitting a rock."

Grant said Martina became aggressive, cursed him and tried to punch him after Grant gave several others a Natural Ice beer, but did not make the same offer to Martina. Grant testified that he kicked Martina in an attempt to get away from him because "he looked like he had a disease or something. I didn't want to touch him; I didn't want him touching me."

But according to Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ann Hollocker: "Daniel Martina was picking up his hat when he was kicked by the defendant. He was not the aggressor in this case."

Grant maintained his innocence during sentencing, saying that Martina was "belligerent" and "aggressive."

"There's been a lot of lies about me by the prosecutor and I know they're not proven and I'm not a bad person," Grant told the judge. "... I didn't mean to hurt him. ... I'm sorry. I never expected nothing like this to happen. ... I didn't kick him that hard. ... I just wanted to be away from him."